The combination of the unusual Satan theme and the absurd music video for “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” drew the ire of prominent conservative voices like South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and perennial bomb-thrower Candace Owens. Nas X, birth name Montero Lamar Hill, responded
by righteously pointing out the hypocrisy of these critics (Noem, who did little to rein in
the pandemic in her state, was a particularly easy target) and using his music video
to further troll them.
Like or dislike his music, if you are at all a heavy internet user, you will find something to admire about how Lil Nas X has used his fame to become a chaos agent of sorts—but the good kind. Part of a long line of chaotic music industry figures that effectively show staying power by leaning into edginess, he has proven himself to be incredibly savvy about the ways of digital culture.
Which means that, unlike other musicians that found memetic success, like Soulja Boy
, he is in a position where he might continue to capitalize on his notoriety repeatedly. He has millions of followers, and he knows how to use them.
(And to be clear, this is not all cheap gimmickry: The song, as absurd as its music video is, highlights Lil Nas X’s increased comfort
about being openly gay, which I can imagine a lot of folks finding an important lesson in.)